AIIM Awoke the Sleeping Community and Listened

Paul Atreides from the movie Dune proclaiming, "The Sleeper has awakened!"Last week I shared my opinions on AIIM cancelling the CIP certification program. Similar opinions were shared in many blogs (Mark Owen compiled a nice list), tweets, LinkedIn, and many other channels. I don’t want to dwell on the specifics of those posts because an important thing happened shortly afterwards. Just seven days after AIIM announced the end of the CIP, AIIM reversed course and recommitted to the CIP with the promise of an update at the 2016 AIIM conference.

That’s right. The CIP IS BACK and it is because of the community.

That doesn’t mean that all is right in the universe. If anything, this chaos reveals to us that there are real problems out there. Luckily we also learned that there are passionate people in the community who can be roused to action when they feel they can make a difference.

AIIM’s Disconnect

The clearest lesson from this is that AIIM is too disconnected from their community. They do get out and meet a lot of members but they somehow missed the importance of the CIP to the community. This raises an important question,

What else is AIIM assuming incorrectly?

That is a question that I cannot answer as I am not in any of the behind-the-scenes discussions. It is clear that AIIM needs better ways to have conversations with all their members. The chapters would be an obvious place to look but chapters have not been a priority at AIIM for a while. Just talk to the leaders of several chapters to understand the lack of support from the parent organization.

What DO We Do NOW?

Liet, the Duke, Gurney, and Paul from DuneThe first is to help with the CIP. It isn’t perfect but the first iteration of an exam rarely is. The CIP does need regular updating and we should support AIIM in those efforts where we can.

We also need to let AIIM know how we feel, publically. One thing we have learned is that when we make our thoughts known in a public forum, others will chime in and share their thoughts. Nobody wants to be the only one pointing out the need for change and simply sharing would be of great benefit. You never know when there will be a universal feeling of support for something until you ask. Expect a lot from me in this area.

Most importantly, we need to make sure that if this ever happens again AIIM can’t say we never did anything to help. We have to be able to say that we care and that we tried.

So I am asking these question of AIIM, “What can I do to help? What actions do I need to encourage the rest of the community to take?”

6 thoughts on “AIIM Awoke the Sleeping Community and Listened

  1. Robin Athlyn Thompson, CEDS, IGP, CIP, IGp says:

    Laurence, I appreciate your articulating this in a concise and organized manner. I view this as a tremendous opportunity to improve and correct the course. My city is one of those chapters of whom you speak here in Phoenix. We struggled with national support, our meeting invites were not being sent, communication was an issue, and we were losing members and board member interest to the point that the few remaining board members decided to write international to ask for clarification. Part of the response we received from AIIM International included this explanation of the view of chapters “4) we look to the chapters solely as our local ambassadors, whose networking activities help define best practices for the chapter leaders themselves and for other local constituents. Most of our volunteers view their affiliation with AIIM as a boost to their professional development, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. In fact, we know that entire sales, consulting, and practitioner careers have been built on the AIIM coattails.” It was after receiving this response that the board voted to dissolve the chapter. I look at organization such as ARMA and ACEDS whose paid marketing team and staff market their certifications and provide chapters with marketing materials. Chapters are viewed as the heartbeat of the organization. I was an active AIIM member in Houston and carried that here to Phoenix and of course am said that the chapter is dissolved. With this opportunity in hand, how can we contribute to improvement of the organization? With kind regards and thanks for this forum. Robin

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  2. Inform AIIM corporate that the chapter network is, should be substantially more than the quoted text AND that it is of value to the equally, if not moreso, centralized distribution model that they’re adhering to.

    This story you’ve told is not new, nor local to just PHX. It’s been around, and been a problem a long, long time. I was a chapter secretary for the Rocky Mtn chapter in Denver in ’98-99 and the story(ies) you’re telling here HAVE NOT CHANGED as I’ve traversed the continent in my itinerant consulting travels.

    It was that exact same time frame (AIIM ’98 in Atlanta) that I made the assessment, determination, that I’d grown beyond their offerings, including training curricula, and I’ve paid to attend once (2013) in the intervening 17 years.

    They – AIIM – have not been a value-add to the experienced practitioner in a long, long time.

    Meanwhile, I’ll just keep sitting over here to the side observing their wastrel incompetence while they focus too singularly, myopically on paying the bills instead of figuring out that if they actually DID have value-add the income flow would follow naturally.

    Just my tuppence. This is an old and long-since-abandoned topic for me. I cared one, long ago; no more.

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  3. Good post Laurence. From my point of view, I feel that AIIM doesn’t provide any real value to me, on a daily basis, on its own. What it does provide is a reason for like minded people to come together (the community, as you described it), to discuss ideas, to share knowledge, to analyse and dissect the latest AIIM findings. In the past I was more active in these than I have been recently, but since the chance that the CIP might disappear, I’ve been drawn back to it, and I can see that the community is as strong as it was. However, the community is the AIIM “fanbase”, and it would do AIIM good to, as you said, be more involved with them. It’s win-win.


  4. Well… you saw my tweet on this very subject. I think it would be extremely short-sighted of AIIM not to take advantage of the community power, not only in the re-design of CIP2.0 but on re-visiting the value-add of the organisation to its members. And to remember that we are grown-ups: We all understand the problem of having to achieve things with less budget than we would like to, and we can all get pretty innovative in finding ways to cope…

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